Almost a month after taking the field with the Kiwi Ferns as part of the 2016 NRL Auckland Nines, I have had some time to reflect on the experience and some of the positives I feel can be taken from the weekend at Eden Park.
To have the opportunity to run out at a stadium with such a powerful crowd behind us was mind blowing. They brought passion and hype, and words can’t describe the kind of feeling that gives you when you are out on the field.
It was a very special occasion for me personally, and I know for all of the Kiwi Ferns team, to see people supporting us and making as much noise as possible.
It makes it easier for us to play the game because the passion from the crowd mirrors our passion on the field. Rugby league does a great job of bringing everyone together, whether you are sitting in the stands watching or on the field playing, everyone shares one thing; passion!
That is what makes league the sport it is and what makes the Nines such a great concept.
On the field it was excellent to get another victory over Australia, who provided a typically tough challenge for us.
The best thing that happened for us was losing the first game of our three-match series. Of course we didn’t want it at the time, but now that I look back it widened our perspective and gave us that feeling that we knew we didn’t want to feel again.
Each person refocused and remembered why they were put in our team in the first place. Within our squad there is so much talent and heart – that will never leave our team – so we were very hungry for the games on day two.
Last year all of the talk was about the big hits and the physical nature of the women’s games, but it was pleasing to see the skills of the players better appreciated this time around.
Yes, there are some absolute monsters in my team who will make a dent in any opposition, but they are also technically gifted rugby league players. Aside from our power game we have genuine speed on our edges, quality structure through our middle and ball players who make the Kiwi Ferns one hell of of a team to play with.
On a personal note it was an unreal experience to be named the tournament MVP. I was honoured to receive the award and it will forever be a fantastic memory which topped off a great weekend.
I never expected it, but I strongly believe that your personal performance on the field is a reflection of the entire team, so on that note I am very grateful to have the teammates I do!
I am now just excited for what the future holds. I want to maintain my position in the team and be playing great footy.
My league career may have been short so far, but it has been very sweet.
Georgia Hale is a Kiwi Ferns representative and NRL ambassador. She is the current Auckland Rugby League Women’s Player of the Year and NRL Auckland Nines Women’s MVP.